Where Is The Return On Investment for Single Payer Health Care?

This JSOnline article talks about Governor Scott Walker’s desire to drug test certain Medicaid applicants before they can receive benefits. We’ll get back to that in another post…but the key data point that I wanted to bring up is Wisconsin currently has 1.2 million people on Medicaid.

That population size was a big surprise to me considering the total Wisconsin population is only 5.7 million. So approximately 21% of Wisconsin’s population is on Medicaid…that seems like a pretty substantial number. And of course the state of Wisconsin and the federal government each have bureaucracies to support the implementation of the program and of course spend substantial amount of tax revenues to make it work.

But from a financial and business point of view, when 21% of any market is in play to a single public vendor at what point is it better to push the rest of the market to that vendor? Is 21% the point of ‘return on investment’ that says solidify healthcare to a single payer government program or do we have a bit to go yet?

Well that just gets to the next question. If one simple health insurance plan like Medicaid already provides benefits for 21%, what happens when we add Medicare to our view? There are currently just short of 1.1 million Wisconsinites on Medicare. Essentially another 18% of Wisconsin pays for their healthcare through Medicare.

So that breaks down to about 39% of Wisconsin residents are already being provided with healthcare services through government programs. And I am not even going to include the Veterans Administration here. But I would think 39/40% has to be near the tipping point where it makes sense to enroll everyone in Wisconsin into a single payer plan.

I imagine if we started a state by state comparison we’d find similar relationships across the nation. Let’s try Alabama, the first state on the list alphabetically. Medicaid population: 874,000, Medicare population 968,000 and total state population 4,779,000: 38+%.

At that rate doesn’t it just make more sense to consolidate all health care insurance under one single payer administrator? Cut the overhead, cut the duplication of effort, negotiate better prices and drive efficiencies in health care?

Instead of simply fighting against the American Health Care Act…why aren’t our progressive and liberal electeds fighting for single payer now? Why is it so quiet on the left side of the aisle? It’s time!


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